Pleiotropic control of Listeria monocytogenes virulence factors by a gene that is autoregulated

J Mengaud, S Dramsi, E Gouin, Jose A Vazquez-Boland, G Milon, P Cossart

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Evidence for pleiotropic activation of virulence genes in Listeria monocytogenes is presented. A complementation study of a spontaneous prfA-deletion mutant and analysis of cassette and transposon insertion mutants showed that the gene prfA activates the transcription of four independent genes which code for a phosphatidyl-inositol-specific phospholipase C (gene plcA), listeriolysin O (gene hlyA), a metallo-protease (gene prtA) and a lecithinase (gene prtC). Transcription of prfA is not constitutive. During the growth phase, two peaks of prfA transcript accumulation were observed: the first was during exponential growth, and the second was at the beginning of the stationary phase. In addition, two prfA-specific transcripts of 2.2 kb and 1 kb are detected. Early in exponential growth, prfA is co-transcribed with plcA which lies upstream prfA, giving rise to the 2.2 kb plcA-prfA transcript. In late-exponential growth and at the beginning of the stationary phase, prfA transcripts of 1 kb are predominantly detected. Our results demonstrate that since prfA controls plcA transcription, it also regulates its own synthesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2273-83
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1991


  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Heat-Shock Proteins/genetics
  • Hemolysin Proteins
  • Listeria monocytogenes/genetics
  • Listeria monocytogenes/pathogenicity
  • Metalloendopeptidases/genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phospholipases/genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic/genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Type C Phospholipases/genetics
  • Virulence/genetics


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